What's Good for the Body is Good for the Environment

The weather is finally starting to thaw, and like everyone here in the Northeast, the mere thought of sun and warmth has me giddy.

Spring is the perfect time to turn over a new leaf and try something new. This year, think about how you can better connect with the earth. Food fresh from the farm or garden is delicious. It is nutrient dense. It is also good for the environment. Here are some ideas:

  1. Vow to buy your produce at the farmer's market this year. Why? You will be buying local, thereby reducing carbon emissions associated with food transportation. You will also have a selection of some of the freshest produce available in your area.
  2. Buy organic when possible. Organic farmers practice sustainable farming techniques. They also grow food without the use of harmful pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Because organic food is expensive, be smart. Buy the foods that are most likely to absorb harmful toxins.
  3. Grow your own vegetables. I know this sounds big, but hear me out. According to the National Gardening Association, growing your own food pays off. After factoring in costs associated with tending the garden as well as the market food price, an average garden yields a $500 return. If the thought of starting a garden is a bit overwhelming, relax. You can start small. Find some planters and fill them with herbs for cooking. You might also try tomatoes or beans.
  4. Opt for pasture-raised meat. Traditional meat farming produces enormous amounts of carbon emissions. Cattle raised on feed lots don't graze on the grass where they reside. Corn is shipped from a farm to the lot. The lots are packed with animals whose excrement piles up and releases toxins into the land and water nearby. Grass-fed animals, however, graze on the land. Their manure naturally fertilizes the land. Their diet, grass, is the diet they were intended to have. These animals are healthier and produce healthier meat. Grass-fed beef is high in omega 3's, vitamin E and beta carotenes. Check your local farmer's market for the best prices on this meat.
  5. Limit processed foods. In general, the more processed a food is, the more energy required to produce it. Limit your intake of these foods. Doing so is eco-friendly. It is also a smart health move, as it limits the fat, sugar, sodium, preservatives, and additives you consume.

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